National Visa Information System
The National Visa Information System (NVIS) is an automated information system for the retention and processing of data from visa applications, including decisions on them, received by the Consular offices of the Bulgarian missions abroad, and for issuing visas at the Bulgarian border checkpoints. NVIS provides retention and processing of data, containing in applications for issuing Bulgarian identity documents, received by the Consular offices of Bulgarian missions abroad, as well as data for other Consular offices.
Controller of the system is the Ministry of Foreign Affairs – National Visa Center to the Directorate „Consular Relations”.
Biometric data (photographs and fingerprints) of visa applicants, and information on issued, declined, canceled, revoked or extended visas is kept in the system. NVIS data is kept for five years.
Bulgaria will gain access and will be able to use and import data in the EU Visa Information System, after the EU Council adopts a Decision on the full application of the Schengen acquis in Bulgaria.
Access to data entered into the NVIS is granted by authorised staff of the Migration Directorate of the Ministry of Interior to the Migration Units at the regional directorates of the Ministry of Interior upon the exercise of the powers of consultation on long-stay visa applications.
Data entered into the NVIS are accessed by authorised staff of the State Agency for National Security (SANS) in connection with long-stay or short-stay visa applications. The terms and procedure for visa consultation are laid down by an instruction issued by the Minister of Interior, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Chairperson of SANS.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Interior and the State Agency for Refugees have set up teams ensuring the continuous operation of their systems related to access to the NVIS and the EU VIS. The NVIS controllers, in cooperation with those teams, provide assistance to the end users of the respective systems when they run into problems using the NVIS.
The authorities responsible for carrying out checks at external borders and within the national territories have access to search the VIS for the purpose of verifying the identity of the person, the authenticity of the visa or whether the person meets the requirements for entering, staying in or residing within the national territories.
Asylum authorities only have access to search the VIS for the purpose of determining the EU State responsible for the examination of an asylum application.
In specific cases, national authorities and Europol may request access to data entered into the VIS for the purposes of preventing, detecting and investigating terrorist and criminal offences.